What Richard Did Screen 7 articles

What Richard Did

2012

What Richard Did Poster
  • Totally deflates once the title comes into play, and it's partly intentional but surely not intended quite like this. Lots of promising stuff early on, memorable detail - Richard's depressive dad, the way he always gives his full name when introducing himself, all the random things people say... in an easy, intimate style; then it falters, giving either too much (Richard's freak-out, more an actor's showcase than a useful plot point) or not enough.

  • Reynor may get some emerging-star buzz for his performance, which runs the gamut from easy charm to heavy suffering, but the MVP is actually the redoubtable Lars Mikkelsen, brother of Mads, who plays Richard’s dad and manages in his short amount of screen time to make us believe that he’s feeling many things at once.

  • Whatever the film’s level of direct political allegory, it’s an interesting analysis of the idea of responsibility and its performances impress, building from the unobtrusive to the painfully nuanced and intense. The trouble is that the brief running time doesn’t feel brief. As smoothly shot as a classy ad, slow-moving and short on spark, What Richard Did compels with its sensitivity and technical diligence, but crawls along in terms of onscreen energy and narrative tension.

  • What Richard Did concludes on an optimistic note, one that finds Richard turning himself in. Though the viewer isn't privy to this act or its consequences, the film ambitiously (and rightly) tells us that such information is irrelevant to the story at hand. The film's title refers as much to the young protagonist's act of violence as it does to his awakening from the slumber of moral complacency.

  • Director Lenny Abrahamson telegraphs the plot twists—that story about a childhood pet is way too ominous—but he’s assembled a satisfyingly knotted moral fable with some very memorable performances, including a fine piece of charismatic brooding from Reynor.

  • In Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's moody What Richard Did, a family beach house on the coast of Dublin strongly evokes Bergman's beloved home, one of many elements that makes the film feel like a Bergman homage without earning the clunky label "Bergmanesque."

  • Richard shows a tremendous sense of guilt and grief, but the movie doesn’t suggest that those feelings confirm him as a good person. Instead, Abrahamson’s penetrating film asks — and does not answer — whether one viciously criminal moment is an aberration, or whether it reveals the weak, shabby person who was there all along.